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Monastic Reform Cheat Sheet by

Benedi­ctine Rule

Monast­icism: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience
St. Benedict of Nursia: 6th cent, influe­ntial
Long night office
7 daily offices
Social Function:
3 types recruits: Mature laymen, clerics, noble children
Most recruits = noble children
Lay founda­tions & donations = v important
Commun­ities of monks needed to perform heavy penances


Peak of Benedi­ctine life
Abbot Odilo (r. 994-1049)
respected & powerful
divers­ifi­cation of religious orders
12th & early 13th century
new orders forming
Formation of new orders
protest against old orders

New Orders

12th century
Rise of individual spirit­uality
Monks unhappy w/ perceived decadence of Benedi­ctines
New orders:
August­inian, Cister­cians

Augustian Canons

August­ine's advice
Pray together
Obedience to superior
Hold posses­sions in common
Small churches, close to towns
August­inian: engaged w/ world
Benedi­ctine: secluded
Based life on letter from Augustine to religious women


Fled from society
Rigorous life:
aggressive pursuit of religious ideal
Return to primitive Benedi­ctine Rule

Bernard of Clairvaux

Cistercian Order expanded.
Bernard asked to lead in foundation of Clairvaux monastery.
Abbot of Clairvaux in mid20s
High profile
Enthusiasm & ability
Drawn into politics, esp. papacy
Cister­cians expanded rapidly:
Rejected tithes, rents, services, church profits August­inians relied on
Refused: perform masses, confes­sions, burials
Land only for agricu­lture & full possession
Removed selves from towns
Conversi (lay brothers) = basis for economy
20 Aug 1153
Bernard died
338 Cist abbeys (68 direct founda­tions of Clairvaux)
Born 1090. Aristo­cratic family in Fontaines
Schooled from young age, meant for a clerical career.

Religious Women

Relatively few women religious
England, 1066:
13 religious houses for women, 50 for men
60 for women, 500 for men
Double monast­eries
Groups of nuns w/ groups of monks
Cistercian efforts to prevent women from joining their Order


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